Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper with Blackberry Preserves

Another gourmet monte cristo!

     Few restaurants offer monte cristo sandwiches these days.  It is just a matter of time till this sandwich becomes popular once again.  The monte cristo was too popular, to simply become a relic of the past.  
     Classic monte cristos were always served with jelly, jam or fruit preserves.  I made a batch of blackberry preserves for a few monte cristo recipes.  The trick was to create flavors on the sandwich that would taste good with the blackberry preserves.  The combination of smoked turkey, emmentaler (swiss cheese) and roasted red pepper on today's monte cristo tastes nice with the preserves.  The herbs de provence add a classic French spring and summer herb flavor.
     Since gruyere or emmentaler cheese were the original cheese on a monte cristo, it is not necessary to mention the name of the cheese in the recipe title.  I chose a few nice gourmet cheeses for some of the recent monte cristo recipes and the names were mentioned in the recipe title.  Whenever a modification is made to a classic recipe, it is required to let the customer know.   

     Blackberry Preserves:
     This is a small batch recipe that makes about 1 1/2 cups of preserves!  No canning is involved and this small amount can easily be consumed within the Servesafe prepared food time limit of 7 days.  The preserves do have to be refrigerated.  If this recipe is multiplied for large batch canning, then it will have to be slightly modified, so the preserves do not turn out to be too thick. 
     When selecting fresh blackberries for making preserves, fresh black berries that are on the verge of becoming overripe are the best!  The only problem is that fully ripened blackberries can have tough crunchy seeds.  It is best to taste a few of the blackberries and decide from the start whether the seeds will be too tough.  If the seed are unpalatable, then press the finished batch of preserved through a small mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  When the seeds are removed, it can no longer be called blackberry preserves and it must be called blackberry jam! 
     Place 2 1/3 cups of blackberries in a colander and thoroughly wash the berries under cold running water.
     Place the blackberries in a small stainless steel sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the blackberries with an extra inch of water.
     Add 1 small pinch of cinnamon.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of ground ginger.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer till the blackberries become soft.
     Add 3 ounces of liquid pectin.
     Simmer and reduce, till the blackberries melt into the sauce and the sauce is able to coat the back of a spoon like a glazing syrup.
     Cool the preserves to room temperature.
     Strain the preserves if the seeds are too tough.  (optional)
     Refrigerate the preserves in a container, till the pectin and sugar gels.  (about 24 hours)
     Serve small portions in a ramekin at room temperature, so the flavors are at their peak! 

     Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper with Blackberry Preserves :
     Place 2 eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of herbs du provence.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Whisk till the mixture is blended.
     Set the egg wash aside, so the flavors meld.
     Cut 2 slices of French bread.
     Place a few thin slices of emmentaler cheese (swiss cheese) on one slice of bread.
     Place 4 to 5 ounces of thin sliced smoked turkey breast on the cheese.
     Place a few wide strips of roasted red bell pepper on the turkey.
     Place a few thin slices of emmentaler on the red pepper.
     Place the top slice of bread on the sandwich.
     Heat a non-stick or seasoned saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 5 pats of unsalted butter.
     Dip both the top and bottom of the the sandwich in the egg batter.
     Place the sandwich in the hot butter.
     Pan fry, till the egg coating turns a golden color.
     Use a spatula to flip the sandwich.
     Pan fry till the eggs on the bottom half become golden in color.
     Place the pan in a 350º oven.
     Bake until the egg coating becomes a golden brown color.
     Place the sandwich on a cutting board and cut it in half.
     Place the sandwich halves on a plate.
     Lightly dust the sandwich with powdered sugar.
     Place a ramekin of the blackberry preserves on the plate.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig and pickles.

     I posted a monte cristo recipe with smoked turkey and aged gouda cheese a few months ago.  Today's Herbs de Provence Crusted Monte Cristo of Hickory Smoked Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper has a flavor that is more mellow.  Yum!  ...  Shawna  

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